Mom and Dad Can Hardly Wait for School to Start Again

Mom & Dad Can Hardly Wait for School to Start Again? // jessconnell.com

Every year I’m reminded…

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,

A pair of hop-along boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben,
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen,
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.”

I’ve gotta tell you, this song lyric irks me. I mean, it really really bugs me. It’s made me hate the song that I otherwise really like. Underlying it is the assumption that one can only take (at most!) a few weeks of their own children.

If that is the case… seriously? do people feel this way?… that is a pretty good indication:

  • that your children need your guidance and input, OR
  • that you need to grow in patience, forbearance, self-control, sacrificial love, and so on.

(Or both.)

And no, (even though we homeschool) I’m not talking about everyone needing to be homeschoolers. I’m talking about basic human decency and familial love.

I’m talking about parents who affectionately love their kids, with a long-term committed-to-their-good love, and kids who obey and respect their parents.

Put plainly: If you don’t like being around your kids, you’re in a God-ordained position to do something about that.

Gregg Harris said, “train them until you like them.”

(Read more on that point: “My Kids Don’t Listen to Me“)

 

It makes me sad that people spend their kids’ childhoods wishing their kids’ away, and then spend their kids’ adulthoods wishing their kids wanted to be nearer.

 

Maybe the two are related?

That’s all I’ve got today, folks.

 

I hope you enjoyed a great Christmas, and that, even amidst the HARD of togetherness, you’ll find heart-space to work toward joy and contentment with the people (big and small) that God has put in your life. ~Jess

 

Also? Check out these related podcasts:

Fight Isolation; Choose Family Togetherness // Mom On Purpose, episode 8:

 

Stay Connected as a Family // Mom On Purpose episode 9:

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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10 Responses

  1. Jayme says:

    I’m guilty of not enjoying my oldest very much? But I’m working on it. He’s 4 1/2 and I just became a SAHM for this purpose (I’m finding it’s much easier to enjoy my kids when I get to see all of their day not just 1-2 hours before and after work).

    Things have been much better in the last month. He doesn’t have an official diagnosis or anything but we’ve started on a food elimination diet to see if there’s a food related cause to his outbursts, break downs, anger and impulse issues. It’s not quite like having a different boy but close. We haven’t identified any specific foods for him yet – it’s close to time to add foods back in and see what results are.

    So for any parents that were feeling the way that I was (just get this kid to school!!!) that might be helpful.

  2. Diana says:

    Oh, my goodness – I’ve listened to that song for years, but never realized that those were the lyrics! Yowza.

    This is such a good reminder for me – when I am not enjoying my children, it’s a huge flag that I need to either improve in my personal character (patience, etc.) or my parenting character (discipline).

    I found that I only developed that desperate need to be away from my children when I sent my son to preschool. That addictive need for “me time” took hold very quickly. When we stopped that and I dedicated myself to the job full-time (as opposed to living for those moments when I could drop him off) things became easier. Parenting is never easy, but that longing to get away from the kids doesn’t control me any more like it used to.

    Merry Christmas!!

  3. Melissa says:

    I’ve been focusing a lot of effort on improving my patience and other fruits of the spirit when it comes to my oldest.

    Jess, have you ever been in a position where you have worked for months or even years on a specific behavior issue in a child without significant progress? My daughter is generally exceptionally well-behaved, follows rules, has great manners, etc, but we have had one area (nap/bed time) that has been an issue her entire life. We have read all the books, asked advice from experienced moms (including you), tried many positive motivations and negative punishments, and we have been consistent and firm in our expectations for her entire life, but still, day after day, we will spend hours of every day engaged in this fight. What do you do when nothing works? I’ll admit that I’ve had a very difficult time enjoying my child because this daily battle has been such a spiritual, physical, and emotional drain for the past 3 years.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Yes, I would say there are many things like this where we see a particular weakness/need in a child’s life and it doesn’t improve overnight… or even over years.

      I felt like a discouraging Negative Nellie the other day when a mom asked me, “I feel like we’ve been working on this for WEEKS. When will he respond and start obeying me in this area?” I answered her that there are things we’re still working on with our 14 year old that have been in his life since he was 6-7-8 years old.

      In those cases, as they get older, we speak very frankly with our kids about how we can’t be the only ones working on this area from the outside… that they need to choose to come alongside us and work on it from the inside. They need to participate WITH us in the discipline process– that ultimately, God has given us each a stewardship over our own souls & choices and there are things that parents can work hard on from the outside, but that can still be struggles. They need to choose to partner with us. We invite them to do it– pray with them about it, weave those issues into our Bible study times with them, and (yes) still discipline about it too.

      God gives us 18 years or so to help work on these things, but some things will STILL be character or physical issues they’ll have to fight as they get toward adulthood. While we can’t remove every struggle they have, we can teach them how to fight and how to participate with not only our discipline, but also, ultimately, with God’s discipline of their heart and life.

      It can be discouraging at first, but I keep reminding myself, I wasn’t given this role of mom because it’s easy– but because it’s valuable work. The more I yield myself to it, and the more I participate WITH the work God is doing in their little bodies and hearts, the more I’ll look back, I think, without regrets. Even if it’s hard.

      • Melissa says:

        Thank you for this encouraging reply. I have realized in the past few weeks that I have not been relying on God as my strength and have been trying to turn to Him more consistently. This situation may not change, but I need to let God work in me anyways so I can show my daughter how he transforms us.

        I have also been talking with her in basic ways about how God helps us when we ask him to, and we have been praying together about this struggle. I also try to stop and pray with her when I am losing my patience, so she can see how we can turn to God for help when we are tempted to sin.

        I really appreciate you and other Christian women who are able to help me focus on the spiritual side of motherhood!

    • Kb says:

      Thank you for this question. I have been battling certain areas in each of our children’s lives for years. Maybe some are due to some inconsistencies on my part, but some are just thorns in the flesh they struggle with. I often have felt doomed because I have one set of friends who seem to have completely produced extremely well behave kids. I feel l like I will never get there some days! I just look at it that the Lord has chosen me to be their mom and I’m doing the best I can, and I’m definitely not perfect!! This post and the answer from Jess puts my mind at ease. I haven’t heard anyone say that before. All the books (good, quality Biblically based parenting books) all make it seem if you do A, then B will for sure follow every time!

  4. Bethany says:

    On one hand, I totally agree with you. In fact, just the other day a friend and I were talking about how the times we are most unhappy with our kids’ behavior and most strongly dislike being around them are often the times where we’ve been consistently inconsistent in our parenting. We’ve ignored, excused, or justified poor attitudes and behavior (theirs and our own) and not made active parenting the priority it should be. We’ve hit the consequences for our irresponsible parenting.

    On the other hand, I disagree. Right about mid-August of this year I could. not. wait. for school to start again. And I homeschool, so it wasn’t even like I was getting the little Ws out of the house. What I was craving was routine, structure, predictability … all the things that an activity-packed, fun-having, memory-making, really good summer kept us from. No matter what a person or family’s version normal is, it’s natural to want to return to it. It’s the same idea that makes people say at the end of a vacation, “It was really fun, but we’re super ready to be home”. It’s not that they didn’t like their vacation. They loved it! But now they’re ready for their version of normalcy again.

  5. Britt says:

    That line of the song has always bugged me too! (My mom always said she was more disappointed that we were when we had to go back to school after break.) But yesterday my 6 year old and I had a conversation about how we’re all ready for some structure to our day again. He’s even ready to start school again, and so am I. We’re ready for more routine and less chaos and sugar! We homeschool as well, I’m not just trying to get rid of them! That’s just how you know it’s been a good break! :)

  6. Rachel says:

    Haha! I remember my mom saying that to us kids. It was always blizzardy and cold in Alberta, so us 4 kids were cooped up in a very small house far too much over Christmas break. And we fought a lot. I don’t know what my parents could have done differently about that. One sister still is a challenge to be in the same room with now as she was back then. 😬

  7. Marisa says:

    That song lyric has bugged me for the past several years too! Before we started homeschooling, my son attended private school and I felt like I needed/wanted more of a break from my kids. I realized that the problem wasn’t them though, it was me! My attitude needed a major overhaul. This isn’t to say that moms don’t need a break once in a while, but I agree that if we don’t really enjoy being with our children then there is a heart problem at hand.

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